The Los Angeles Rams lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night by a score of 19-16. LA had a number of chances in the first few quarters to score a touchdown, but they didn’t. Matthew Stafford turned the ball over and the Bengals were able to hang around and eventually took a lead from the Rams in the second half. Joe Burrow, despite his health concerns, eventually settled in and did enough to help his team. LA’s defense tried to keep the Rams in the game, and overall they stepped up a number of times. The defense for the Rams was probably their best unit of the evening.
Aside from an admirable defensive effort for much of the game, the other highlights (if you want to call them that) for most of the game were the successful kicks by Brett Maher. The Rams may have their kicker at least for this season if Maher keeps converting consistently.
Up and good again from from 42-yards out for Brett Maher.— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 26, 2023
In the fourth quarter the Bengals converted a huge fourth and one. At that point the Rams were really staring down a second loss in a row, and a 1-2 start to the season. On the very next snap the Rams forced a huge play of their own. They intercepted Joe Burrow as the LA defense continued to keep the Rams in this game.
LA would not score after that interception. The Rams kept relying on the pass. Sean McVay’s refusal to the run the ball may not be new, but it was incredibly questionable in this game. Kyren Williams has been outstanding throughout the year, but in this game he wasn’t given too many opportunities to run the ball. I’ll be curious to hear what McVay has to say about the gameplan.
The passing attack was by no means inept, but the offense struggled on third down. At one point the offense was 0 for 6 on third down conversions, and it got worse when the Rams were 0 for 10 on third down. For whatever reason McVay did not seem to change the game plan, and it was the Rams defense that continued to answer the call. The defense really did not quit on this team.
The life of Aaron Donald. pic.twitter.com/oIUf7L81hy— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 26, 2023
It would be easy to say that Rams offense didn’t show up to play, and I don’t think I would say that. They made some big plays. They had chances in the redzone. Stafford had moments where he still looked as healthy as he has all season.
Openin' up the second half with a 22-yard dot from Stafford to Higs! pic.twitter.com/CWJM2YhdbW— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 26, 2023
The flip side to that same coin is the Rams offense just didn’t look good enough to win this game for much of the contest. There were some truly questionable calls by the officials, but the final score is the final score. The Rams offense didn’t execute in a few keys situation. The refs are not the reason for the outcome of this game.
By the time the Rams scored a touchdown, they needed to complete an onside kick, and the Rams would not recover the kick sealing the game and sending LA to 1-2.